In Sweet Smell of Success (1957), press agent Sidney speaks to club's buxom blonde, ditzy cigarette girl Rita about newspaper columnist Leo Bartha:

Sidney: And, uh, were you... "interviewed"?

Rita: In his apartment.

Sidney: Where was his wife?

Rita: I don't know. It's a big apartment. Only I wasn't interviewed.

How can a native speaker understand "interviewed" mean "sex"?

  • The metaphor is understood in context. Interviewed* does not mean to have sex, but any number of verbs and phrases can be employed to hint at it. Oct 22, 2022 at 14:24
  • We say in AmE: You had to be there. An idiom which means the context of something makes it clear.
    – Lambie
    Oct 22, 2022 at 14:41
  • The quote marks suggest an ironic tone of voice. Oct 22, 2022 at 15:51
  • You need to be careful in attempting to learn English from 65 year old movies, or movies about sub-cultures, as this one appears to be. They use local variations that don't necessarily match standard language either then or now. But... "It was a big apartment." LOL!
    – BillOnne
    Oct 22, 2022 at 17:03

1 Answer 1


Just about anything can mean sex if you hesitate with "uh", then pause with "..." then put it in "quotes". These are all things that convey sexual innuendo.

Sidney: And, uh, were you... "assisted"?
Sidney: And, did he, uh ... "repair your TV"?

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